The last article on this site “Boiling water and beatings, claim Burmese workers” has been deliberately mistranslated and is currently circulating around Thai media and social networking sites stating that I wrote that the men under arrest had been tortured.

This is of course NOT a claim I have made. I have no knowledge of what happened to them while under the care of Thai police, and nobody has made that claim to me. I am curious as to what has happened to the third person who was detained, but that will out in due course.

Misinterpreting is not rare in Thailand. Sometimes it is a genuine mistake. At other times more malicious.

Quite often reports by foreign correspondents are mistranslated by the Thai media and of course the in the last three weeks we have seen numerous locally created false claims, some of which have traveled far, relating to the murders of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.

So may I categorically state that the allegations of the beating and scalding of Burmese migrant workers relate to not the current accused but three of their friends, with whom they were playing takroh/takraw on Saturday September 27th.

And to my Thai friends and colleagues please pass it on and correct where necessary.


“Tonight the Burmese community on Koh Tao claimed three close friends of the suspects were beaten and tortured by Thai police to implicate Saw, Wyn and third man Mau.

Some were said to have had boiling water poured on them. Community leaders also insisted the suspects were innocent.

Their statement was backed by Aung Kyaw, president of the Myanmar Migrant Labour Association in Thailand, who said: “We do not believe they did it.”

His statement read: “Ethnic migrant workers living and working on Koh Tao irregularly (without documents) were accosted by a group of Thai police officers who tried to catch them when they were peacefully playing cane ball. Six among the nine migrants accosted trying to run away were caught.

“Another three were able to run away and escape arrest.

“Three of the six migrants caught were physically beaten and their bodies scalded through pouring over hot boiling water as a means to get information about the three people who had run away from the police arrest.”


  1. Officials constantly talking about tourist numbers or hotel bookings after crimes like this actually do more damage to the tourist industry. All they do is come across as cheer leaders for wealthy hotel an resort owners, reinforcing the idea all these people care about is making money.

    Two young kids have been viciously murdered here. What will inspire confidence in tourists is an open and honest investigation of the case with professional behaviour from the police. What we've seen so far has been a circus and it would appear the image of the country and tourist industry is foremost in the mind's of certain officials. All this does is make Thailand look backward and xenophobic

  2. It's not just the western media using the term 'scapegoat' here. In Thai แพะรับบาป or phae ra-barp means exactly that but is shortened to แพะ which is just goat. Prayuth himself used this term yesterday a number of times in his press conference as did the police spokesman. Listen and you'll here them say สองคนนี้ไม่ใช่แพะ "These two guys are not goats." The Thai press are asking that question, Are these guys just scapegoats? It isn't just a Western media thing. The Thai press are suspicious of the police too. They might have the right guys, I hope they do, but it must be beyond suspicion.

  3. Was referring to the social media the Thais use not rags like Visa, Teak Farangtalk and Ajarn. The government are no more bothered by them than New Mandala. They're monitoring them but are considered just irritating flies of no account. They're tougher with for example the Daily Mail, already blocked. The Thai social media may be a different thing. They take that seriously. I'm surprised at the Thai reaction to the Burmese arrests, they are not supportive as they usually are. Weapon's observations concur with mine and, I suspect yours, though you may be thinking of the English language media. I was surprised Prayuth praised the police. Let's hope he can tackle the poo mii ithipon

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